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Full text of "A history of Persia"

CH. LII               THE SELJUK TURKS                   99
of Seljuk, who with his tribe crossed from Turkestan
into Transoxiana and embraced Islam with deep fervour.
He and his descendants took part in the wars of the
period, and speedily came into collision with Mahmud.
The story runs that the great Conqueror asked Israil, the
son of Seljuk, how many men followed him to battle, to
which the nomad chief replied that if he despatched an
arrow to his tents one hundred thousand men would
prepare for war, but that if his bow were seen two
hundred thousand men would join the former force.
Sultan Mahmud, alarmed at this new power, imprisoned
Israil, and, hoping probably to weaken the tribe by
moving it away from its habitat, settled it in the district
of Nisa,1 and in Abivard, near the modern Kakha on the
Central Asian Railway. The newcomers, under their
chief, Mikail, proved unruly, and in the year before the
death of Mahmud they attempted to invade Khorasan, but
were driven back.
Masud of Ghazna.—Masud, the son of Mahmud, was
from the outset unfortunate. After he had deposed his
brother, not only was Khorasan attacked by the ferocious
Ghuzz, who were destined to play a sinister part in Iran,
but a rebellion broke out at the same time in India. To
add to his misfortunes, Khorasan also rebelled, owing to
being unprotected from the Ghuzz ; and the Ziyarid
prince of Gurgan and Tabaristan and the Governor of
Khwarazm both seized the opportunity to throw off their
allegiance. But Masud was no weakling, and in A.H. 426
(1035) he brought a large army from India, drove the
Ghuzz from Tus and Nishapur, and invaded Tabaristan,
which submitted. He then left Khorasan and busied
himself with his possessions in India, to which he attached
greater importance, probably because they yielded a larger
The Founding of the Seljuk Dynasty, A.H. 429 (1037).
—To return to the Seljuks, Mikail, the brother of Israil,
had two sons famous as Toghril (or "Falcon") and
Chakir, to whom Masud had recourse in the operations
against the Ghuzz and who aided him in driving these
1 The site of Nisa is ten miles to the south-west of Askabad,